name Meerlust Red vintage 2011
variety 52% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot rrp AUD$30
Stellenbosch, South Africa. Meerlust Estate is a family run operation since 1756. Today, eighth generation Hannes Myburgh is the custodian of this seventeenth-century national monument. Wines are all produced from estate grown grapes. The proximity to both Atlantic and Indian oceans brings sea breezes and mists from the coastlines to the vineyards, helping to extend the ripening process. The soil is mainly decomposed granite gravels with a high clay component. This geological formation works superbly with Bordeaux varieties - the deep soil profile gives drainage and a reservoir of water produces concentration, fruit definition and complexity in the wines. These soils are also spiked with black laterite deposits known locally as "koffie klip", which further adds to the distinctive site expression.
All their wines are under cork, even the whites. With a traditional family run operation you might expect this, especially with an estate of such longevity. There is a classy look to their offering, with simple classic graphic design and a bordeax shaped bottle. The shield, with the facade of the manor house with palm trees on either side, gives a sense of pride in the property itself. 'Meerlust', despite the interesting word play with 'mere lust' actually mean 'pleasure of the sea' in Afrikaans, quite appropiate since the it is only 5km to False Bay.
I was blown away by this wine. Overdelivers big time! I always find it so intriguing to drink South African wines. They have a unique balance between an Old World and a New World flavour profile, yet it still remains distinctly South African. Bordeaux varities suit the soils and climatic conditions of the region, producing fine and elegant wines for the long haul. I had this bottle open for a few days to see the way it can handle oxidation, and surprisingly it was after 2 days when it showed its best. The same vineyards also produce 'Rubicon', Meerlust's flagship wine. Meerlust vines produce dense flavours, long structure and firm acidity allowing their wines to flourish if cellared in good conditions.
suggested food matching
Beef or lamb barbeque with rosemary seasoning is the 'almost perfect' matching. The smoky and fleshy flavours of the meat with the herbal touches of the rosemary will melt superbly with the intense aromas and taste of this wine. Although mature cheeses can also be really nice, this is not for everyone. Even personally on occasion I find Bordeaux blends with strong cheeses not the ideal. It's really a case by case scenario - food and wine matching is a never ending exercise, so it's always worth having a go and developing your own opinion.
the final word
Meerlust Red gathers a lot of great things in one bottle; Family tradition, sustainable farming and charming flavours. All elements that makes it a superb offering. The Stellenbosch wine region is widely renowned for its tourism, beautiful landscapes and top notch hospitality and Meerlust sits comfortably among the best of the best. The heritage has deep roots within the area, making it an iconic destination. I look forward to visiting the property in the near future. I'd particularly love to taste the wines when varieties are still separated. I believe their Merlot must be the one that makes the magic in the blend, the lifted plum and violet bouquet, as well as the layered mid palate suggests that to me.